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Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Betty Comden, Adolph Green

A silent film star falls for a chorus girl just as he and his delusionally jealous screen partner are trying to make the difficult transition to talking pictures in 1920s Hollywood.
Rated G.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 1.0
French Dolby 1.0
German Dolby 1.0
Italian Dolby 1.0
Castillian Spanish Dolby 1.0
Latin Spanish Dolby 1.0
Portuguese Monaural
Czech Monaural
Polish Monaural
Latin Spanish
Castillian Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Latin Spanish
Castillian Spanish

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $33.99
Release Date: 4/26/2022

• Audio Commentary With Co-director Stanley Donen, Screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann, Film Historian Rudy Behlmer, and Actors Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, and Kathleen Freeman
• “Raining on a New Generation” Documentary
• Trailer
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Singin' In the Rain [4K UHD] (1952)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 20, 2022)

Despite my generally negative opinion of movie musicals, I always maintained one notable exception: 1952's Singin' In the Rain. Why does this one stand out to me?

A lot of it has to do with the interesting story. Too many musicals - such as Gigi - discard any kind of substantial plot and just toss out a lot of tunes in their place.

Also, a lot of these films have excessive numbers of song and dance routines, many of which grind the narrative to a halt. I thought Oliver! and West Side Story suffered from those flaws.

On the other hand, Rain creates a nice balance between story and songs, with only one exception that I'll discuss later. Set in the late 1920s, silent movie star Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) deals with the shift to “talkies”, especially because long-time romantic co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) sports a shrill voice not suited to the new format.

In the meantime, Don “meets cute” with aspiring singer/actor Kethy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) and the pair develop a romance. Don tries to balance romance with work in this changing landscape.

The look at early Hollywood offers clever tactic that makes the picture much more interesting than the regular "boy meets girl" fare. Although it's clear the movie takes an unrealistic and cartoonish viewpoint of the era, I love all of the material about the silent films and the problems their creators encountered when the move to sound occurred.

It's this plot path that makes the story work, since the film's not limited to the usual romantic schmaltz. Granted, it's virtually inevitable that Don and Kathy will become a couple, and we know this the second they lock eyes.

However, the movie involves so much other action that we're treated to many different elements. As such, if romance isn't your thing, you’ll find something else upon which you can hang your hat.

Rain can feature some pretty cartoony, broad choices. Normally I'd consider these a negative, but the decisions work well in this instance.

Even though the silent days weren't all that far in the past when they made Rain, they existed long enough ago to already seem semi-mythical, and the movie treats them as such. Rain half-spoofs, half-salutes those years, and the combination works nicely.

Rain doesn’t treat the silent era with excessive reverence, but we sense affection toward it. This means the mockery doesn't come across as mean-spirited.

Much of the reason Rain seems so good stems from the cast. Kelly was never better than as Lockwood, as he combines mild celebrity arrogance with his usual "boy next door" charm and creates an endearing yet still believable character.

Kelly’s chemistry with his co-stars is always solid. He and Reynolds hit it off especially well, and the moment in which they finally solidify their relationship is happily touching.

I like Donald O'Connor as Lockwood's lifelong friend Cosmo, though he chews a little more scenery than I'd prefer. Best of the supporting batch, however, is clearly Jean Hagen as shrill-voiced Lina Lamont.

The vast majority of the movie’s memorable non-musical moments belong to her as she creates a hilariously over-the-top harpy with a voice that'd irritate Fran Drescher; I never fail to laugh when the diction coach tries to get her to say “I can’t stand him”.

Hagen offers a terrific comedic presence who amuses with almost everything she says. She boasts virtually perfect comedic timing.

So how about those musical numbers, anyway? As I noted, those are the parts of these kinds of movies I dislike the most, but while I can't say really care for the music in Rain, I do feel that the tunes are much more enjoyable than most.

Rain probably features the same percentage of running time devoted to songs as most other musicals, but it sure doesn't feel that way. Many of the numbers seem pretty superfluous to the plot - musicals tend to toss out songs just for the heck of it – but here they integrate fairly nicely into the story.

Best of the bunch remains the stellar title song, with its career-defining solo dance for Kelly, but quite a few other tunes fit in nicely with the plot. These don't feel "tacked on", unlike most of this film's brethren.

The one significant deviation from this rule comes from the "Broadway Melody", an exceedingly long musical number that strives to out-do the famous ending dance from 1951’s An American In Paris. Not coincidentally, that film - which appeared one year prior to Rain - starred Kelly, who also choreographed both pictures.

I couldn't stand the big dance number at the end of Paris, but it remains famous and beloved by many, and it clearly made a big splash at the time. Through the "Broadway Melody", Kelly creates a production number highly reminiscent of that from the earlier film.

It seems equally as dull and useless, in my opinion. Actually, it may serve even less purpose, since the piece in Paris at least relates to the movie's plot.

The "Broadway Melody" exists just to replicate previous glory, and I think it's a complete failure. It grinds the plot to a total stop for more than 13 minutes, but it becomes tedious long before the end of that period.

That's too bad, as the "Broadway Melody" provides the only significant flaw in what is otherwise a very funny, fresh and entertaining little movie. Even with the “Melody”, I still really like Singin' In the Rain, as it remains bright and perky after 70 years.

Even if you detest musicals, this one's worth a look It won't persuade you to embrace the genre, but you'll like it anyway.

Something odd I never noticed until I took in many screenings: during the montage of tunes that illustrates how “talkies” took over Hollywood, pay close attention to the song performed by the dude with the megaphone. The melody sounds exactly like the “Itchy and Scratchy” theme song from The Simpsons!

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Singin' In the Rain appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Across the board, the movie offered a strong presentation.

Overall definition was good. Did Rain deliver consistently razor-sharp imagery? No – it could look a smidgen soft at times.

However, that wasn’t unusual for Technicolor productions, so the light softness matched what I expected of the format. Clarity was good at worst even with those instances, so I felt pleased with sharpness.

Jagged edges and moiré effects created no concerns, and edge haloes remained absent. I saw good natural grain structure and no obvious signs of noise reduction. The movie showed no examples of speckles, grit, or other defects during this clean presentation.

Colors looked absolutely lovely, with some genuinely eye-popping hues at times. Rain was a bright and peppy movie and the disc often showed off these hues to great effect.

As usual with Technicolor, skin tones could be a little brown, but the vivacity of other tones more than compensated, as the hues were usually delightful. The disc’s HDR added dimensionality and range to the hues.

Black levels appeared consistently strong, with deep and rich dark tones. Shadow detail seemed clear, with appropriate opacity but no signs of excessive heaviness.

HDR brought impact to whites and contrast. Rain looked great in this satisfying presentation.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack slightly opened up the original monaural audio. The soundstage presented the songs with mild stereo separation, and the score also spread modestly to the rear channels on occasion.

Other than that, however, the track remained largely monaural as far as I could tell, as I heard few instances in which any audio other than music emanated from the side and surround speakers. Some crowd noise at parties or premieres broadened to the sides in a moderate manner.

And you know what? That's fine with me. I liked the fact that the track broadened the music but kept the rest of the sound fairly true to the original.

Audio quality appeared fine for the era. Dialogue was a little thin and tinny but seemed clear and intelligible throughout the film; it displayed no signs of edginess or roughness.

Effects were clean and acceptably realistic without any distortion. The music appeared a bit too bright with only minor bass response, but it largely sounded acceptable.

Background noise wasn’t an issue. This wasn’t a great track, but it seemed satisfactory for its age.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the 2012 Blu-ray? Audio appeared identical, as both came with the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 track.

One bonus: although the Blu-ray lost the movie’s original monaural soundtrack, the 4K restored it – and in lossless DTS-HD glory!

Expect a nice uptick with the visuals of Rain, as the 4K brought superior delineation, colors and blacks. This was an impressive upgrade.

Visuals showed the expected step up from the Blu-ray. The 4K UHD gave us more dynamic colors as well as superior definition. Although I felt pleased with the BD, the 4K UHD delivered a more satisfying presentation.

On the 4K disc, we find an audio commentary from co-director Stanley Donen, screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann, film historian Rudy Behlmer, and actors Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, and Kathleen Freeman. Hosted by Reynolds, the edited track combines remarks from separately recorded interviews.

At times these reflect on the action we see onscreen, but much of the time the participants cover other related subjects. I like that format, but some folks hate it, so if you fall into the latter category, enter this commentary forewarned.

Overall, I feel the track offers a lot of good information. Not surprisingly, historian Behlmer - the veteran of many excellent commentaries - gives us the highest amount of concrete facts. He tosses out a great deal of useful material that helps us to understand how this classic got to the screen.

The others contribute more personal recollections, and they generally do so well. We hear about how O’Connor created his solo number and how Kelly ran Reynolds ragged to get her dancing up to snuff. Comden and Green also relate the manner in which they came up with the story. All that and much more appears in this light and lively piece.

I do have one major complaint about this commentary: the nature of Reynolds’ involvement in it. She hosts the track, which means she mainly identifies each speaker.

Reynolds tosses in a few minor remarks about the production, but she adds no other information. All of her factoids seem generic and not specific to her participation.

This appears bizarre, as Reynolds was one of the film’s lead performers, yet she tells us absolutely nothing about her experiences in it. Cyd Charisse reveals more about Reynolds’ work than Debbie herself does!

Whose brilliant idea was it to use one of the movie’s stars in a strictly introductory capacity? Brad Pitt acted as the host of the commentary for the old Criterion Se7en laserdisc, but he still provided his own remarks as well, and that same motif should’ve occurred here.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the included Blu-ray copy provides a documentary called Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a New Generation. It runs 50 minutes, 43 seconds and includes notes from Behlmer, Glee choreographer/producer Zachary Woodlee, choreographers John DeLuca, Michael Rooney, Charles Klapow, Chicago director/choreographer Rob Marshall, Hairspray director/choreographer Adam Shankman, Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann, Across the Universe screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, film historian Sam Wasson, musicians/dancers Usher and Paula Abdul, and actors Harry Shum, Jr., Corbin Bleu, and Matthew Morrison.

“Generation” offers a mix of modern-day appreciation for Rain as well as some production facts about the flick. Overall, the program mixes those two moments well.

While we get the expected gushy fan notes, I do like that we learn about the film’s modern influence, and we get to see a variety of homages from recent years. Although I wouldn’t call this an essential documentary, it works better than most of its ilk.

The Blu-ray also offers a Jukebox. This essentially acts as a song-specific form of chapter search, though it comes with the ability to save your selections and program the soundtrack. This means you can listen to whatever songs you like in whatever order you prefer.

Note that the Blu-ray review linked above discussed a special boxed edition that included a second disc of extras as well as non-video materials. Those don’t re-appear here, but that doesn’t surprise me.

Arguably the greatest movie musical ever made, Singin’ In the Rain remains fresh and lively after 70 years. The film seems bright and funny and it usually avoids many of the pitfalls that disenchant me when I watch the genre. The 4K UHD delivers excellent visuals along with satisfactory audio and some good bonus materials. Singin’ in the Rain continues to enchant and this 4K UHD brings it to home video better than ever.

To rate this film, visit the Special Edition review of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main